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How Does an Economic Downturn Affect Customer Service?

Customer Service, Phone Answering

March 28, 2023

How does an economic downturn affect customer service?

Are you ahead of us already? Did you guess the answer?

Recession, regression, digression, succession. Is it a bear market or a bull market? Or an eagle? Is it an eagle? Or a woodchuck? Is it coming in like a lion or going out like a lamb? The average bill-paying individual has zero idea. We just know we’ve been feeling the impact of an economic downturn for some time, now – and while market analysts are fostering hope for the future, business owners still have customers to serve. And serve well.

So, how does an economic downturn affect customer service? If you answered, “it shouldn’t” – or, at least, “it should only improve it,” you’re on the right track.

Yes, in many instances businesses have been forced to re-evaluate their spending to stay afloat. And one area that is all-too-frequently tightened during tough times is customer service, which is often seen as a luxury rather than a necessity. But cutting corners in this area is a huge mistake! Phenomenal customer service is more important than ever when the economy is in the toilet.

Here’s why:

  1. People are more price sensitive: Because everyone is looking for ways to save money during lean times, they’re more likely to comparison shop. Offering value that extends beyond “low prices” – i.e., stellar customer service – makes your business stand out, and helps you to retain customers while you weather the storm.
  2. People have less disposable income. Impulse shopping takes a backseat when a person’s bankroll is topsy-turvy. They’re going to be more thoughtful about the purchases they do make, which means they’re more likely to seek out businesses that go above and beyond to please. Bolstering your customer service reinforces their belief that they are making a wise investment.
  3. People are under more stress. From mounting bills to worries about losing their jobs and paying the utilities, your callers are feeling the impact of this economic downturn. Believe it or not, you can help in a big way. Offering exemplary customer service helps alleviate some of this stress by making customers feel like a person, not a number or a statistic. Providing a positive experience during a difficult time may, in fact, be one of the most important services you provide.

An economic downturn can also exacerbate customer complaints. As budgets get tighter, and creature comforts become more unattainable, customers become less tolerant of products and/or services that don’t meet their expectations. The result? More cranky callers.

But ignoring customer complaints – or, even worse, giving individuals the brush-off – is the absolute last thing you should do. Responsiveness is the single greatest tool you have at your disposal now. Helping customers achieve a resolution quickly and satisfactorily is the name of the game. And if you want to win the game faster? Outsource your calls to a professional answering service.

The power of a person who cares should never be underestimated. Your answering service will provide:

  • Authenticity: At all times – but particularly during an economic downturn – customers crave a genuine experience. Give that to them.
  • Accuracy: In just a few minutes of listening to a customer’s true needs, a call center agent can save your business hours of wasted time on the back end. Messages are taken with meticulous attention to detail, ensuring that they are accurate, on time, and directed to the right person at your company.
  • Alacrity: During an economic downturn, can you afford to have calls go to voicemail? Automated systems make callers jump through hoops unnecessarily before they are sent to the wrong department or placed on hold. It’s a great way to get good customers to lose their patience. Callers that are met with an actual, honest-to-goodness voice within the first few rings are given a clear message: they matter.

Economic downturns, like all downturns, will ultimately pass. When they do, customer service that never quits will ensure your followers remain in your corner. By outsourcing answering needs to a specialist, you can reallocate resources where they’re most needed, benefiting you AND your callers – improving promptness, productivity, and everyone’s bottom line in the process. Your callers will appreciate your efforts, and you’ll be able to retain more of them during the best and toughest times.